On March 25, 2012, I had an interesting conversation with one of Naz's relatives; in part, we briefly discussed the political in-fighting within the community that Cissie Gool once served and represented in Cape Town. I won't cover that strife here, but will include a piece written by the late Joe (Yousuf) Rassool addressing the matter at: http://www.cix.co.uk/~jplant/revhist/supplem/rassool.htm.
It's an important issue that continues to haunt people around the world in one form or another, not only in South Africa. We omitted historical details of in-fighting in “the TRUTH is on the WALLS,” because others have written skillfully about the issue; there is no point in repeating anything that has been addressed by thoughtful people – either here or in the hereafter. Rewriting history in South Africa most likely will continue for the next 100 years – something more exciting than opportunism. (The last sentence is my view: a good one that works well for me personally.) In the case of Yousuf "Joe" Rassool, his son is ensuring that Mr. Rassool's last book is updated/published and/or made public in various forms; thus, historical figures are still contributing, acting as our guides, in the hereafter. It is one of the reasons I enjoyed Elise Peeples' novel “Strands” where ancestors fly in on Ireland's wind and rain with answers to serious issues that deeply affected four generations of women. We need to listen to them. After all, some of our ancestors know the secrets. Understanding the past is essential for the present and in particular for the future -- if the future is to be made better. I realize life will go on without all of us, and many in the younger generation have their own good ideas, but many don't. When opportunism rules absolutely around the world, we have all lost. If we don't understand our past the wheel will continue to reinvent itself regardless of who is in charge of a school system, religious instruction, corporation or country, etc.
other insightful assessments), due to apartheid, read Musuva's “Peeping through the reeds.” http://www.amazon.com/Peeping-Through-Reeds-living-apartheid/dp/145202877X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332811156&sr=8-1.
It is true Gandhi was a friend of the Gools and
Dr. Abdurahman, Cissie's larger-than-life father. I believe Gandhi frequented Yusuf Gool's home regularly when Gandhi was not in prison. (Yusuf was Naz's grandfather.) Naz was quite entertained by her family's connection with Gandhi, and I smiled every time she said, “Do you believe it?” in her beautiful South African accent. Cissie was definitely exposed to Gandhi as well as others like Olive Schreiner and Tagore, but she was not mentored by him. Gandhi left South Africa when Cissie was 17, and I certainly never heard Naz say Cissie frequented Gandhi in prison, which is where he spent a great deal of time under Smuts. Try to remember what it was like to be a teenager. Despite privilege, prestige and serious traits, teenagers are unto themselves around the world. Naz was quite emphatic in her belief that Sarojini Naidu was a mentor for Cissie, which makes perfect sense because Cissie was far ahead of her time, preferring women authority figures over men. I cannot help but believe the latter fact irritated many in a generally male-dominated society. Cissie's first impressive march that she led to Parliament and singular appearance, without her father, was in 1930 -- six years after Sarojini was a guest in her home: one she shared with her husband Dr. A H Gool who was the son of Yusuf Gool. Cissie was 33 years old in 1930. If there is contradictory information out there regarding some of these stated facts, I have not read them, nor did Naz know about them. But that's why we are here: to share/correct history to the best of our ability because for so many years South Africa's majority (people of color) were excluded from history -- purposely. When it comes to mentoring, one only has to read about Sarojini to see where Cissie found her inspiration.
Cape Town Mural of South African leaders: Left to right: Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Cissie Gool and Imam Haron.